How working at The Standard re-shaped my thinking

By Elizabeth Amongin

Who is Frank Obonyo?

I was born in Nagongera, Tororo District, to Johnny and Betty Obonyo. I went to school in Luzira Primary School, Kisoko High School, Luzira Secondary School, then Uganda Christian University, Mukono, where I graduated with a BA in Mass Communication majoring in Print.

How did you join The Standard ?

After     graduation in 2006, the idea of starting up a student community newspaper was hatched by the then head of department. We were interviewed and appointed as staff writers in March 2007 to help kick-start the newspaper.

For the two years we worked as staff writers, we were equipped with practical journalistic skills.

I remember   when I left The Standard    the   following, year I joined The New vision also as a sub-editor.

How has working at The Standard been significant in your career?

The Standard  turned the theories I learnt in class into practical  skills.     It allowed me to meet people like the First Lady of Uganda, Hon    Janet Museveni, Dorcus Inzikuru; and I interviewed Pastor Rick Warren, archbishops and top university officials.

The Standard sharpened me into thinking  more  deeply about my over   all  journalistic       responsibilities to the society. This was a perfect way of chiselling me into    a writer. I  recall Thomas Froese training us in language and style.

I moved on to The New Vision, Compassion International Uganda and   World Vision Uganda because of the strong foundation The Standard offered me.

Has The Standard, in your view, impacted the community?

Former Vice Chancellor, Prof Stephen Noll, at the launch of The Standard in June 2007   likened the newspaper’s name to the standard of God’s truth.      

The beginning was tough for us because this was the first time a fully operational independent newspaper was in the community and so we became the eyes and ears to the UCU community.

However, some university officials at the time didn’t fully understand the objectives of the newspaper and so the truth had to be published but with a lot of resistance.

The Standard has managed to be a litmus test for journalism students because it forces them to confront a host of unanswered theoretical questions such as how to improve writing, how to report fairly, accurately and compassionately. In the last ten years, The Standard  has  made    information    flow so easy within and outside the university.

What do you think about journalism as a money-making profession?

Journalism is a calling. It is a profession I liken to deep religious belief.

Once a journalist, you’ll always be because it trains one to have a critical mind, open eyes and wide ears to make a difference in the society.

Now I write impact or success stories, shoot photos        and videos for non-governmental organisations. I am also currently at the dissertation write up stage leading to an       award of MA Literature at Uganda Christian University.

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